Monsanto promotes GMO labeling in Europe; yet spends millions to fight it in California
Monsanto is spending $4.2 million to fight California’s Proposition 37, which would require labeling of genetically engineered foods. Yet the company gave its “full backing” to the same type of labeling in Europe, according to a series of ads first reported by the San Jose Mercury News.
The ads, which ran in London in the late 1990s, highlight Monsanto's credibility problem and reveal that Monsanto agrees with the key arguments that Yes on 37 supporters are using to advocate for GMO labeling here in California – namely, that consumers have a right to know what we’re buying and eating.
“Food labelling. It has Monsanto’s full backing,” begins Monsanto’s potato ad that ran in The Guardian newspaper in 1998 and 1999. “Before you buy a potato or any other food, you may want to know whether it’s the product of biotechnology.”
We agree! The ad continues, “Recently you may have noticed a label appearing on some of the food in your supermarket. This is to inform you about the use of biotechnology in food. Monsanto fully supports UK food manufacturers and retailers in their introduction of these labels. We believe you should be aware of all the facts before making a purchase.”
Yes: Consumers should be aware of all the facts before making a purchase.
So why is Monsanto now spending millions to fight the very same labels that would make California consumers aware of biotechnology?
The London ads offer some insight. The ads focus on the future possible benefits of genetically engineered foods, yet most GMO foods on the market today offer no consumer benefits at all.
According to Monsanto’s 1998 strawberry ad, “likely future offerings” of genetic engineering include “potatoes that will absorb less oil when friend, corn and soybeans with increased protein content, tomatoes with a fresher flavour and strawberries that retain their natural sweetness.”
More than 14 years later, none of these traits are available in genetically engineered foods. Instead, almost all GMOs on the market today are engineered to withstand ever-increasing doses of pesticides or to contain insecticides within the food itself -- the sort of stuff that doesn’t sound so good in an ad.
The Monsanto ads are just another example: This company can't be trusted. Remember, Monsanto also told us Agent Orange was safe.
Stand up with us against Monsanto's lies. Join the Yes on 37 campaign and help us win GMO labeling in November!